Last week I wrote about the greenhouse mafia in Australia. This week, Clive Hamilton has named the “dirty dozen”, the twelve people who have worked together to mislead Australians about climate change. The Age reports:
Speaking at the Australia-New Zealand Climate Change and Business Conference yesterday, Dr Clive Hamilton dubbed the group – including Prime Minister John Howard, businessman Hugh Morgan and The Australian’s editor-in-chief, Chris Mitchell – “the dirty dozen”.
Dr Hamilton is the executive director of the Australia Institute and was invited to the conference in Adelaide to deliver a speech titled “The state of the debate over climate change in Australia”.
Nominating 11 men and one woman, Dr Hamilton accused the group of doing “more than all others over the past decade to prevent any effective action to reduce Australia’s burgeoning greenhouse gas emissions”.
“I hope that in 50 years’ time as Australians swelter in debilitating heatwaves, battle fierce bushfires, fight over dwindling water resources, lament the loss of unique species and tell stories recalling the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, they will be reminded of the names of those who refused to act in the face of overwhelming evidence of what lay ahead.”
The full speech goes into details of the activities of the dirty dozen. For example:
Chris Mitchell. As editor-in-chief at The Australian, and before that at the Courier Mail, Mitchell has adopted an aggressive stance against anyone arguing that climate change is a problem. Not only have the opinion pages of The Australian provided unlimited space for all of the anti-greenhouse crazies but the news pages have regularly been turned over to anti-greenhouse propaganda. As an illustration of how news values now take second place to ideology, The Australian in January ran an anonymous anti-greenhouse news story – note, not an opinion piece – by someone identified as a ‘special correspondent’ employed by the fossil fuel lobby.
The “story” is the usual collection of misleading and outright false claims. For example,
Most of the accepted warming from greenhouse gases in our atmosphere comes from water vapour, not carbon dioxide, and even then only a very small proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere comes from human activity.
Water vapour is the biggest contributor to the natural greenhouse effect, but the natural greenhouse gives us 33°C of warming, so even a relatively small increase makes a big difference to climate. And human activities have increased atmospheric CO2 from from 280 ppm to 380 ppm, which is not a small proportion.
The special correspondent also poses these questions:
first, is there conclusive evidence of anthropogenic climate change; second, if there is what is causing it;
What could cause anthropogenic climate change? Tough question. Maybe Mr Dictionary could help.
Wayne Sanderson comments:
Clive Hamilton is entirely right about the editor-in-chief of The Australian Chris Mitchell – he is biased on the issue of climate change, and has run a campaign of denial against it. (Mitchell is a right-wing social engineer on other issues, but that is another story for another day.) Hamilton has named Mitchell as being one of a “dirty dozen” who have misled the public on climate change (link below). I worked for Chris Mitchell when he edited The Courier-Mail, and apart from what I personally observed, was told by two roundsmen at the paper that Mitchell had told them not to bother submitting stories about climate change – they wouldn’t get a run. …
Along with their pro-war stance on Iraq, climate change has been the other great intellectual failure by conservative columnists and commentators – will they finally show some intellectual courage and acknowledge their failures? Will they resign for getting two such major issues so comprehensively wrong? Why do opinion page editors continue to publish twaddle from people whose credibility has been so shot to pieces? Both of these issues have been disastrous failures for Australian journalism. The real tragedy for the “profession” is that it is unlikely to do anything about it – a measure of the extent to which it has lost its way – and that these towering failures will continue to be given space to peddle their nonsense.